What is increasingly clear is that those behind the massacre of Catholics with their priests, during the celebration of Holy Mass at Our Lady of Deliverance in Baghdad last Sunday, are not finished with their evil. We once again invite our readers around the world to pray for those who mourn, pray for the Pope, and pray for the conversion of the perpetrators of this evil. Serious times demand serious responses.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (Catholic Online) - Catholics, other Christians, other people of faith and people of good throughout the world continue to mourn and reflect upon the brutal killing of Catholics at Holy Mass in Baghdad last Sunday. However, those associated with the Muslim extremists who perpetrated the evil act continue to spew their hateful and violent rhetoric. We are committed to updating our global readers on the unfolding danger that these threats portend against Catholics and other Christians. Serious times demand a serious response.
Asia News has provided excellent coverage of the massacre and its aftermath. On November 3, they filed this report: "The so-called 'War Department' of the 'Islamic State of Iraq' (ISI) al-Qaeda in Iraq issued a statement on the Web to announce that the passing of the deadline of its "ultimatum" to the Egyptian Coptic Church to release two Egyptian women, Camilia Cheh and Wafa Constantine, wives of Coptic priests, whom according to the terrorists are detained against their will in a convent after converting to Islam. Their conversion has been denied by all the Islamic religious authorities in Egypt, and the Muslim Brotherhood have harshly attacked the authors of the massacre in Baghdad. Al-Qaeda, however, confirms that all Christians and their churches have become "legitimate targets" of the terrorist group and are therefore are in danger. The message issued today by the Iraqi cell of al-Qaeda also makes explicit reference to the Vatican.'
"While confirming its desire to attack the Christians, the terrorists say they want to give one more chance to the Catholics of the Church of Rome. They claim that "the War Office of the Islamic State of Iraq announced that starting today all the churches and Christian organizations and their leaders are a legitimate target for mujahedeen. These politicians and their bosses in the Vatican should know that the sword will not fall on the heads of their followers if they proclaim their innocence, and distance themselves from what has been done by the Egyptian Church. Al-Qaeda calls on Catholics to "send a clear signal to the mujahedeen of their effort to put pressure on the Egyptian Church in order to obtain the release of two women, their prisoners."
Vatican Radio has filed regular reports on the tragedy and its aftermath. The most recent noted: "The victims of Sunday's massacre in Our Lady of Salvation Church Baghdad were laid to rest Tuesday. A telegram from Pope Benedict to the leader of the Syro-Catholic Church in the Iraqi capital, Archbishop Athanase Matti Shaba Matoka, was read out to mourners during the funeral service. The Pope said "deeply moved by the violent death of so many faithful and their priests, Tha'ir Saad and Boutros Wasim, I wish, during the sacred funeral rite, to share spiritually in this occasion and pray that these our brothers and sisters are welcomed by the mercy of Christ into the Father's House.for years this country has been suffering untold hardships and even Christians have become the subject of brutal attacks that, in total disregard of life - an inviolable gift from God - want to undermine confidence and peace. I renew my call that the sacrifice of our brothers and sisters may be the seed of peace and true rebirth, and that those who care about reconciliation, solidarity and fraternal coexistence, find the strength and motivation to do good".
Finally, the UK Guardian, in an article by Martin Chulov entitled "Resurgent al-Qaida threatens Christians in Iraq with 'destruction" reported on Wednesday, November 3, 2010: "Al-Qaida in Iraq has threatened more attacks on Iraq's Christians, claiming that they are legitimate targets who now face the "doors of destruction".The warning, published today on militant websites, came three days after gunmen from an al-Qaida front group, the Islamic State of Iraq, raided one of Baghdad's main cathedrals during Sunday mass. More than 50 people were killed and dozens were wounded when Iraqi forces stormed the church in an attempt to lift the four-hour siege. In its statement, ISI described the pope as "the hallucinating tyrant of the Vatican" and warned that Christians would be "extirpated and dispersed" from Iraq. "All Christian centers, organizations and institutions, leaders and followers, are legitimate targets for the muhajideen wherever they can reach them...We will open upon them the doors of destruction and rivers of blood."
What is increasingly clear is that those behind the massacre of Catholics, with their priests, during the celebration of Holy Mass at Our Lady of Deliverance in Baghdad last Sunday, are not finished. We once again invite our readers around the world to pray for those who mourn, pray for the Pope, and pray for the conversion of the perpetrators of this evil. Serious times demand a serious response.
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